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Executive Summary: On March 19, 2023, Syrian President Bashar al Assad arrived in the United Arab Emirates where he met President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in an attempt to normalize relations with other Arab neighbor countries.

The Syrian leader accompanied by her wife, Asma al Assad arrived in the capital city of Abu Dhabi for a series of meetings and discussions with His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The two Presidents held discussions focused on ways to strengthen the ties between their states as well as on how to increase stability and regional cooperation.

“I welcomed President Bashar al-Assad of Syria to the UAE today, and we held constructive talks aimed at developing relations between our two countries. Our discussions also explored ways of enhancing cooperation to accelerate stability and progress in Syria and the region.” said Sheikh Mohamed on his Twitter account.

The visit to the Gulf country is Bashar’s first after the devastating earthquake that hit Syria and Turkey in February. He also visited the UAE in March last year. Last month, al Asaad made a similar visit to Oman.

Abu Dhabi contributed with more than $100 million in financial support to earthquake-stricken Syria, by far the greatest amount from any other country. President Al-Assad thanked UAE for their humanitarian aid provided in the aftermath of the quakes.

The UAE restored their relations with Syria in 2018 after years of political isolation as a result of a brutal crackdown of Asaad’s government on the pro-democracy demonstrators in 2011.

Analysts consider that the current circumstance in the context of the quakes will lead to a normalization of the strained relations of Middle Eastern countries with Damascus in more than a decade now.

The official visit to the UAE is part of the ongoing thawing of relations between Syria and other Arab countries. Sheikh Mohamed emphasized the need to restore ties with Syria and to bring it back into the Arab League. The President also thinks that now is an appropriate time for other Arab states to improve relations and to negotiate peace with Damascus.

UAE’s President is encouraging cooperation and engagement between Arab states to achieve stability. Emirati presidential adviser Anwar Gargash confirmed the above mentioned on Twitter.

“The UAE’s approach and efforts towards Syria are part of a deeper vision and a broader approach aimed at strengthening Arab and regional stability” he added.

Sheikh Mohamed urged for reconciliation and declared that he supports talks between Syria and Turkey. President Bashar al Assad welcomed the UAE’s efforts in building ties between Arab countries.

He underlined that it is essential for relations between Arab nations to be stable and fraternal. He also added that dissonance and the severance of relations are incorrect political principles.

Bashar al Asaad welcomed minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed to Damascus in January. One month later, he made a second visit to the areas hit by the earthquake.

He also mentioned that the UAE is leading efforts to make amends with former enemies and turn them into future allies.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his wife, Asma al Asaad were greeted by the UAE’s president, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan at a ceremony at Qasr Al Watan Presidential Palace where the national anthem of Syria was played.

Syrian First Lady Asma Al-Assad was meant to meet with Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, who is regarded as the Mother of the Nation. She is also President of the General Women’s Union, President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme President of the Family Development Foundation.

The official talks between the two leaders took place at the same palace in the presence of two official delegations. Emirati officials such as Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed, National Security Adviser and Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister attended the reception.

The Syrian delegation included a number of ministers as well.

Sheikh Mohamed and Bashar Al Assad have had constructive talks that took into consideration the region’s positive developments and how important it is to take advantage of them in order to achieve stability, prosperity and to improve safety.

The UAE’s President “is convinced, along with many Arab states, that the time has come to reconcile with Assad and see Syria return to the Arab League and the Arab fold”. He reaffirmed the UAE’s support for bringing Syria back to its Arab surroundings and emphasized on its importance in building bridges around the region.



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